Do you remember the boat scene in the Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  I feel a little like I’m on that boat.  I’m leaving for a journey and I have no idea where I’ll end up.  I can almost hear the Oompa Loompa’s singing in the background.

I’m excited and to be honest- a little nervous about the trip.  I don’t feel prepared.  I am typically a heavy packer,  I’ve had to pay that extra charge for overweight luggage more than a few times. Hey a girl needs SHOES!)  but, this time?  I’m travelling light.  No- it’s not a journey to a nudist colony or a monastery- it’s a 40 day journey of the heart- in observance of Lent.

Different people honor Lent in different ways, some give up things they love in an act of devotional sacrifice, some abstain from sweets or behaviors that they feel would allow them to bring greater honor to God. This year- instead of giving something up, I’m going to take in something.  I’m going to spend 40 days: LISTENING.  Typically I’d have picked out a bible study to focus on- or started a Lent specific reading plan, but not this year- this year I’m leaving it up to God. 

On Sunday- during church- I was handed a small note card with verses and thoughts recorded on it- one for each day of the week.  I’ve decided to let those note cards speak to my heart.  I don’t know how they were planned- or where that plan will take me, but I’m ready for the trip.  And I’ve decided to invite you along for the parts I choose to share.

I don’t have a clue where this journey will lead me, so I doubt I could pack a well prepared bag even if I tried.  My typical packing experience is more a scene from the old Steve Martin movie:  “The Jerk.”.  This time?  MinimaIism wins.

My bag is packed with the things I know I’ll need, my bible, a pen and journal to record what I hear and think, a camera capture the things that speak to me without words, and my knitting to give me time to meditate on the things I hear… helping them to become knit into the fabric of my heart.

Today’s direction?  Pray for a Joyful heart.  The scripture reference is John 15:11- “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  The words belong to Jesus.  They beg the question… WHAT words- God?  Have you spoken to me- to make my joy full?  The context of the scripture (John 15:1-17) is Jesus speaking about the true vine.  About abiding in Him, and bearing fruit.  Repeatedly he says that if we love him, we will follow his commandment.  The commandment he repeats over and over?   “Love one another. “ (John 15:12)

The first stop on my Lenten journey leads to Love- And that love begins with God- John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Abide in my love.”  These words are spoken before Jesus tells me to love others.  Today I need to abide in his love and then love others…. It raises more questions than it answers:

How do I do that?  Who do I love?  How do I show it?  What is love?  Is love a feeling?   If so…How can I change my feelings?  Or, is love an action? And If so- what do I do?  WHO should I love? 

Something deep in my gut today, tells me not to worry about the details… self created travel plans or to try and pack a LOVE BAG in preparation… something inside says:  just act in simple loving ways with each one I come in contact with… starting with the woman in the mirror. 

Funny- as I sit at Starbucks writing this.. a young couple just came in… they are meeting with someone to plan the music for their wedding…… love… so often the words of love are expressed in music… I think I’ll update my ipod… and add that to my bag….I ownder if other things will be added along the way?

I hope you’ll join me in this journey to an unknown destination…. Regardless of your background or belief system… we just may find our paths criss- cross or diverge in amazing ways.

Dear Lord- I’ve ever committed to a Lenten Journey before— I feel a little like I’m on Willie Wonka’s a crazy tunnel with scenes of life playing on the walls…. I don’t know where I’m going.. but I trust you to lead me safely.  I love you Lord- amen.